BOSTON — The Red Sox and Cardinals led the American and National leagues, respectively, in runs scored. They were second in their respective leagues in batting average. Yet in the World Series, they have struggled to hit and score.
“This time of year, pitching usually is a big factor,” said Boston right-hander John Lackey, who will start Game 6. “Teams that make it this far usually have pretty good pitchers from starters all the way through to the bullpen, and I think both these teams do.”
This, though, is fairly drastic. Boston, which hit .277 and averaged 5.3 runs a game during the season, is hitting .205 in the first five games of the World Series, and only once have they exceeded their average run production. Take away designated hitter-first baseman David Ortiz, who is 11 for 15 with two doubles and two home runs, and the Red Sox are hitting .151. Ortiz has precisely one-third of Boston’s hits.
The Cardinals hit .269 in the regular season and averaged 4.8 runs per game. They have scored five runs in a game only once, and three times have been held to two or fewer, and they are hitting .218. Both managers have tried moving players both into the lineup and around the batting order, largely to no avail.
“We’re not afraid to do something to stir it up,” Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny said. “But for the most part we have to trust what we’ve done so far.”
Matheny said he hasn’t decided whether Carlos Beltran, who hit fourth in Games 4 and 5, will move back to the second spot. The Red Sox will be bolstered by the return of first baseman Mike Napoli, who got only one at-bat in St. Louis because Ortiz, the regular designated hitter, started at first base.
The Cardinals were supposed to leave St. Louis around 1:30 p.m. CDT, but mechanical issues stalled their charter plane, and they were still sitting on the tarmac past 6 p.m. The St. Louis Post- Dispatch reported the team finally arrived around 11 p.m. Boston time.
“Everybody seems to be doing all right,” Matheny said in a conference call with reporters, which he conducted from the plane. Several players brought their wives and children.
“Fortunately we have plenty of food, snacks for the kids, lots of entertainment with on-board movies,” Matheny said.
Baseball teams are used to traveling after night games and arriving in the early morning, so the delay likely won’t impact the game. The Red Sox traveled back immediately after Monday night’s Game 5. . . .
Boston Manager John Farrell said Shane Victorino, who sat out Games 4 and 5 because of back soreness, will start in right field Wednesday. The right-handed hitting Jonny Gomes will start in left even though the Cardinals will start right-hander Michael Wacha and left-handed hitting Daniel Nava is available.